THE UK Government has strongly defended the Brexit deal on fisheries saying the “red lines” on fish have been protected.
Thursday’s political declaration on Brexit had been condemned by some Scottish politicians who said the deal showed that the industry had been sold out as access to UK waters and appeared to be linked to future trade deals.
However, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation cautiously welcomed the deal. Its chief executive Bertie Armstrong said the declaration would give the UK the power to assert its position as an independent coastal state “with full, unfettered sovereignty over our waters and natural resources”.
He continued: “However we know that several EU nations will not give up their attempts to link access with trade in order to retain absolute rights to fish around our coastline.
“So we will continue to seek assurances from the UK Government that it will remain steadfast and will not rest until the future arrangements are signed, sealed and delivered and we secure that critical control over access to our waters and who catches what stocks, where and when.”
In summery, the declaration:
- acknowledges the UK will be “an independent coastal state” with the rights and responsibilities that entails.
- gives no commitment in the political declaration to maintaining existing access.
- says that there will be a fisheries agreement similar to the arrangement Norway, as another independent coastal state, has with the EU – they have a fishing agreement which is separate to their trading arrangements.
A spokesman for the UK Government’s Scotland office said: “Nothing in the agreement prescribes the content of this agreement. Access to fish in UK waters will be a matter for negotiation along with new arrangements for sharing fishing opportunities.
“The political declaration does not create a link between a future agreement on fisheries, including access to waters, and any agreement on trade in fisheries products.”